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California in Congress

Jimmy Gomez sworn into Congress

Rep. Jimmy Gomez was sworn in as Los Angeles’ newest congressman in a ceremony between House votes Tuesday, saying in brief remarks afterward that his approach to policy and politics is driven by personal and community experience.

“As the son of immigrants who believes in this country and everything it promises, I am a living embodiment of that promise, [and I] have a profound commitment to protecting the rights of other immigrant families, no matter where they are from or the god they worship,” he said.

The 34th Congressional District is one of the most diverse in the country, and includes downtown, Koreatown and much of L.A.’s Eastside.

With many of the 53 members of California's House delegation surrounding him, Gomez took the oath of office. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) dove in for the first handshake before Gomez was swamped by Democrats pounding him on the back.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez with mother Socorro Gomez at his swearing-in ceremony. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Jimmy Gomez with mother Socorro Gomez at his swearing-in ceremony. (Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

Gomez’s wife, Mayor Eric Garcetti aide Mary Hodge; his mother, Socorro Gomez; his mother-in-law, Sarah Hodge; and his brother Gerry Gomez watched from the gallery.

Gomez replaces Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), who resigned in February after he was tapped to be California’s attorney general.

Gov. Jerry Brown had reportedly wanted Gomez to stay in the Assembly long enough to vote to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program and ensure a two-thirds vote to guard the program against potential legal challenges.

After McCarthy sent a letter that the seat had been left open too long and demanding that Gomez appear in Washington, Gomez’s swearing-in was scheduled.

Despite round-the-clock negotiations, Brown and state legislative leaders weren’t able to reach an agreement on expanding the program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas, in time for Gomez to vote Monday. Instead, the cap-and-trade vote is expected later this week.

Gomez started his brief comments with a tweak to McCarthy and the letter, which spurred editorials and articles in newspapers around the country.

“I also want to thank the Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for all the attention he’s given me for the past several weeks. Thank you so much,” Gomez said.

McCarthy stood and bowed toward Republicans as the representatives laughed.

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